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Suicide bomber kills 25 in eastern Afghanistan

- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 4, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber killed at least 25 civilians and wounded another 30 at a funeral for a village elder in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.

Ahmad Zia Abdul Zai, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the attack took place on Tuesday in the village of Shagai in the Durbaba district of eastern Nangarhar province. He and other officials said at least 25 people were killed.

Initial reports had at least 10 civilians killed. Mr. Zai and police later said more than a dozen people had died of their injuries.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. There has been fighting against Taliban and other insurgents in the mountainous region located just across the border from some of Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

Latifullah, the police chief's secretary who goes by one name, said the target was apparently Durbaba district chief Hamisha Gul, who was attending the funeral for the village chief and ranking elder.

Mr. Gul survived the attack, said Jamil Shamal, deputy police chief for Nangarhar province, but Mr. Gul's son was killed when he tried to stop the bomber by grabbing him.

The Taliban often target government officials at public functions, including funerals and weddings.

Civilians are often the victims of suicide attacks. On Aug. 14, dozens of people were killed in suicide attacks in northern and southern Afghanistan.

A recent U.N. report said 1,145 civilians were killed and 1,954 others injured during the first half of the year, 80 percent of them by militants.

Associated Press writers Massieh Neshat and Patrick Quinn contributed to this article.

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